Hide and Seek

kid hiding in pillow fort

Hide and Seek is a fun game for all ages. Toddlers can learn object permanence (the concept that objects are still there even if we can’t observe them with our senses), while teens may enjoy Hide and Seek for the challenge of finding the best place to hide.

As with any physical activity, safety is a top priority when playing Hide and Seek. Before you begin, set ground rules to prevent children from hiding in unsafe areas. You could set limits on which rooms or spaces are off-limits (or create boundaries if outdoors) and prohibit hiding in small, closed spaces (like cabinets). Also, establish a signal before the players hide that would tell players when it’s time to quit or set a time limit just in case someone finds a hiding spot where no one can find them. Lastly, supervising children while they play is the best way to ensure they play Hide and Seek safely.

After going over safety guidelines, decide who will be the first player to “seek.” The seeker will count to a certain number (whatever you decide is appropriate, perhaps 20) while the remaining players hide. After the seeker is finished counting, the seeker should look for each of the players. The first player the seeker finds is the seeker for the next round. The seeker should continue looking until all of the players are found. Younger children can play in smaller, indoor spaces, while older children may be able to play in larger spaces.

There are many other ways to play Hide and Seek. Another version is called “Sardines.” In Sardines, there is only one player that hides at the start, while the others seek. As each seeker finds the hider, they should quietly hide with them. The last player to find the hiders is the hider for the next game. If your children play this way, make sure they hide in a space large enough for everyone except one player to hide in at once. Again, safety rules should be established before starting play. To learn about the cognitive benefits of playing Hide and Seek, visit https://childdevelopmentinfo.com/child-activities/why-playing-hide-and-seek-is-good-for-your-child/.

How will your children play Hide and Seek?


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Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program (EFNEP)

North Carolina State University
Agricultural and Human Sciences Department

Cooperative Extension at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University
College of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences (CAES)